Members of Thomson Ecology and Thomson Habitats recently worked with Network Rail to produce their information film about great crested newts, which has been distributed on
the Track Safety Alliance (TSA) website.
The Track Safety Alliance (TSA) is an industry-wide group which was formed in 2011 to allow a number of concerned stakeholders across the industry to develop
and share best practice. This is largely focused on the improvement of health, safety and wellbeing of track workers.
Peter Ives, Environment Manager IP Track (South) for Network Rail, introduces the film by explaining that, “The purpose of the film is to raise awareness
about great crested newts and the process that we should be taking in terms of identifying and managing great crested newts on our network.”
Thomson Ecology Senior Ecologist, Rob Hutchinson, and Will Taylor, General Manager of Thomson Habitats, demonstrate different techniques in surveying ponds
for the presence or absence of great crested newts, including using eDNA testing. Efficient surveying can save Project Managers time by enabling them
to make informed decisions to help plan their projects, including whether an ecological Clerk of Works may be needed, or if a Natural England licence
may need to be applied for in order to be compliant with the law.
Edward John, Scheme Project Manager IP at Network Rail, explains that, “Often the sites are undisturbed and untouched, with the exception of the running
railway, and left to overgrow become perfect habitats for protected species.” Edward goes on to explain that plans need to be put in place “to mitigate
our risks so they don’t impact us, and we don’t disturb their environment or habitats.”
The film can be viewed here: http://www.tracksafetyalliance.co.uk/videos/tsa–great-crested-newts/s4460/